Muscat: With its stunning landscape and breath-taking natural allure, the Sultanate of Oman is undisputedly a heaven for backpackers and campers. Anyone would be lured into becoming an adventure junky once they step foot into this magical land, be it a picnic during the day under the shade of an acacia tree or a night camp under the roof of stars on top of a grandiose mountain.
Oman never fails to surprise with its captivating natural charm. Wild Wadis, ginormous mountains, boundless deserts, serene seas - the geography of the Sultanate has something for every kind of outdoor enthusiast. The present weather is specially suitable for a picnic or a barbeque night.
But before you pack your bags, spare a thought for the pristine beauty of Wahiba Sands or the Yiti beach! Now visualise the plastic bottles and litter left by indifferent campers. Littering in the nature is a glaring problem for which our future generations shall hold us accountable.
Also, remember Oman has strict laws in place for those who ill-treat the environment. A penalty of OMR 100 can be levied upon those who violate the law for the first time and if the mistake is repeated, the penalty can be increased.
With a few mindful steps, we can give back to nature at least a tiny bit of what it provides for us.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are on a picnic or a camping trip so as to manage waste better:
1. Opt for reusable containers
Be it packing your food or ketchup for the sides, refrain from using throwaway plastic packets or containers. For example, pack a single squeezable ketchup bottle instead of many sachets. Also make sure to carry back the ketchup bottle home to be used during your next picnic or camping trip. Similarly, while packing food, choose a steel or reusable plastic hot pot and not the one-time throwaway boxes. Don’t forget to carry your reusable cutlery along!
2. Carry/cook only the required quantity
Stick to the policy of “more is more and a burden to dispose off”. So, don’t carry or cook in excess and litter the place with the leftovers. Even if you intend on feeding the strays with the leftovers, don’t scatter it around the place, rather place it in a tray and feed. Leave the place presentable when you leave so that the next person remembers the place for its charm and not for your leftovers that welcomed them!
3. Carry trash bags/ garbage bags
Carry trash bags to dispose of the waste in and leave them only in the be’ah garbage cans. If there are no trash cans in the vicinity, take the trash along and dispose of it in the nearest be’ah disposal facility.
4. Reduce waste generation
A few simple steps can help you reduce the amount of waste generated:
· Carry a can of tap water to clean utensils and wash hands instead of using disposable tissue papers.
· Use reusable cutlery instead of disposable ones
· Bigger quantity drinking water bottles or soft drink bottles instead of many small ones. Get an 8 litre can instead of 8 one litre bottles.
· Bring mats rather than buying disposable sufras.
5. Use leftovers
If it is a one night camp, carry the leftovers home, if you are staying for another day, just simply serve it for breakfast.
If you are camping by the sea or wadi, don’t treat the water bodies as a dumping ground. It is a pitiful sight to witness camping and picnics turning out into a catastrophe because of how poorly the trash is managed post the enjoyment. Always be considerate and carry your picnic garbage.
By being a responsible camper, we are gifting the beauty of Oman to our future generation.
So, next time you go camping or on a picnic, make sure to “leave no trace behind.”